Best Cheap Mixers
- Published on
- By Tahirah Blanding
For the frugal baker, a key ingredient in a delicious dessert or savory side is a good, cheap mixer. With a simple push, toggle, or press, a hand-held electric mixer can easily beat, mix, or whip a recipe to the perfect consistency. Hand mixers start at around $15 and soar upward of $70. The best cheap mixers from brands such as Hamilton Beach, Oster, and Sunbeam have basic design and fewer features than their mid-range rivals but can perform just as well.
Oster Inspire Review
Power 250 watts
Speed Settings 6
Attachments Beaters, dough hooks, whisk, drink rod (dishwasher-safe)
Additional Features Burst of Power button, retractable cord
|18||250 watts||6||Beaters, dough hooks, whisk, drink rod (dishwasher-safe)||Burst of Power button, retractable cord|
Hamilton Beach 62650 Review
Power 290 watts
Speed Settings 6
Attachments Traditional flat beaters, straight wire beaters, whisk
Additional Features QuickBurst button, storage case, bowl rest
|26||290 watts||6||Traditional flat beaters, straight wire beaters, whisk||QuickBurst button, storage case, bowl rest|
Oster 2500 Review
Power 240 watts
Speed Settings 5
Attachments Beaters, dough hooks (dishwasher-safe)
Additional Features Burst of Power button, comfort handle
|23||240 watts||5||Beaters, dough hooks (dishwasher-safe)||Burst of Power button, comfort handle|
Cheap Mixer Buying Guide
Our research points toward Oster for the best cheap mixers -- most notably the Oster Inspire (starting at $18), which comes in black (model 2577) and white (model 2534). The primary complaint in online reviews of this mixer is that it's actually too powerful and could use a lower speed. Otherwise, users generally report that it performs well and appreciate the variety of included attachments. The Oster 2500 (starting at $23) has the right mix of price, features, and precision to earn excellent reviews overall and qualify as a good cheap mixer. One other model to consider is the Hamilton Beach 62650 (starting at $26), with 290 watts of power and a convenient storage case. The compact, cordless design of the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer (starting at $20) may also appeal, but reviews indicate that this mixer doesn't generate enough power to mix much beyond a drink.
Mid-range hand mixers one rung above these cheap models may represent a step up in quality and power, but not necessarily. A $40 or $50 price is likely to reflect sleek design (which doesn't affect performance) and additional, unnecessary features, such as digital display or self-cleaning beaters.
Stand mixers, which are stationary and meant to be left out on the counter, are known for being more powerful, durable, and versatile but also more expensive than hand mixers. Designed for serious bakers who use the appliance frequently and for heavy duties such as bread dough, stand mixers start at about $70 and come with lots of function options and accessories, including a dedicated bowl. KitchenAid dominates this market segment, selling high-end mixers for around $300 and counting.
Combination hand/stand mixers are far less common than dedicated stand or hand-held mixers but have the flexibility to go either way. They usually come with more accessories than hand mixers and are easier to move and store than traditional stand mixers, in part because the stand is lightweight and the head can be removed. Prices start on the high end of our Cheapism range of $30 or less. One of the least expensive and most widely reviewed combo mixers, the Hamilton Beach 64650 (starting at $29), counts many fans among consumers unwilling to spend big on a stand mixer. However, many reviewers question its durability and criticize the design: As a hand-held mixer it's too heavy, they say, and as a stand mixer the parts don't lock in place and the beaters don't reach the bottom of the bowl, making for ineffective mixing.
Cheap hand mixers make the most sense for the casual user who won't be baking every day. They are lightweight and accommodate any bowl. And they still have the capability to mix common batters, including cake, as well as sauce and (with the right attachments) even thicker recipes such as pizza or bread dough.
Hand Mixer Reviews
During our research we found many hand mixer reviews online, although most are written by consumers, not experts, and consumers tend to be harsh in their assessments. Virtually no mixer under $30 receives a perfect score, as reviewers seem to find something wrong with every model. Yet the best ones are easy to use and capable of turning out creamy batters, fluffy egg whites, and airy whipped cream.
Mixing Results.Ingredients are certainly critical to a delicious result, but even the best won't yield a satisfactory outcome if your mixer doesn't perform well. The two Oster models we recommend -- the Inspire (models 2577 and 2534, starting at $18) and the 2500 (starting at $23) -- both seem to have what it takes. The Oster Inspire is noted for its versatility. On the Target website, reviews mention successful meatloaf, bread, cookies, cakes, and muffins. The Hamilton Beach 62650 (starting at $26), another good option, has won over a vast majority of shoppers who have posted hand mixer reviews on the Walmart website. One says it makes quick work of chocolate chip cookie dough. Not so the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer (starting at $20), which received the lowest score in one expert test with the same type of dough. It was also judged only fair in a test of how fast it could whip heavy cream.
Power and Wattage.Most hand mixer motors draw 150 to 350 watts and our top budget picks range from 240 to 290 watts. lthough marketing materials may emphasize a powerful motor, only a large difference in wattage (say, between a hand mixer and a stand mixer) is likely to translate to a noticeable difference in power output. Experts do say afewer than 175, but they point out that mixing power depends on a variety of other factors, including the design and motion of the beaters.Hand mixer reviews can shed more light on how powerful a mixer is. Overall consumers have few complaints about a lack of power from the mixers we recommend. In a review on Newegg, one baker comments that the Oster 2500 (starting at $23) has a strong enough motor to cut through thick batters and another user hasn't needed anything beyond the second speed (out of five). The slightly more powerful Oster Inspire had no problem kneading heavy bread dough in a test by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, which praised the resulting loaves. Reviews of the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer on Amazon warn that such a feat would not be possible with that diminutive model. It's cut out only for smaller jobs such as mixing drinks and beating eggs.
Ease of Use.Even if you need a mixer for just a few minutes, you should be able to handle it with ease and comfort. If possible, shop for mixers in person and get a feel for your chosen model before you buy. Look for one that's well-balanced and light enough to hold until you finish the job. Some mixers feature conveniences such as retractable cords, swivel cords (for left-hand use), and extra grip, although consumers shouldn't necessarily expect these from a cheap model.Based on shipping weight and consumer feedback, the Oster 2500 totals no more than 3 pounds, which is on the low end for a budget mixer. It is one of the few low-cost mixers with an ergonomic design aimed at making the task more comfortable. Not many mixer reviews address the comfort or control of the Oster 2500, but on Amazon one reviewer mentions it has a comfortable handle and another appreciatively notes the compact size. At 4.3 pounds in the box, the Hamilton Beach 62650 weighs enough to draw some complaints in reviews at Walmart. Still, several other reviewers say they don't mind the weight. The Oster Inspire is a little lighter than the Hamilton Beach but still weighs 4 pounds. Although it may be too heavy for some, a few reviewers on Amazon point out that the added heft makes this mixer feel more solidly made than other cheap models. Both of the Oster mixers on our list of top picks have dishwasher-safe beaters for easy cleaning and the Inspire features a retractable cord.The Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer is the lightest model we researched, at about 1.6 pounds. Users who have posted hand mixer reviews on Amazon find this cordless model easier to call into service than a full-size hand-held or stand mixer for things like beating eggs, smoothing gravy, and whisking oil into made-from-scratch salad dressing. However, some have found it challenging to keep the mixer charged.
Durability.For the most part, low-cost hand-held mixers seem to last at least several years, depending on how often they're used and how heavy their regular workload. Only a few consumers comment specifically on longevity in hand mixer reviews. One owner of the Hamilton Beach 62650 reports on the Walmart website that the mixer is nearing two years of reliable service. The Oster Inspire is capable of lasting for at least five years, according to one reviewer, who admits on the Target website to not treating appliances very well. It's important to care for your mixer as directed if you want it to last. Mishandling a mixer can also negate the manufacturer's warranty.
Mixer Attachments and Other Features
Generally the more features a given mixer has, the pricier it will be, but the best budget models still come with helpful extras and an array of mixer attachments. In addition to traditional beaters, some hand mixers come with differently shaped wire beaters, whisks, dough hooks, and even milkshake attachments. All mixers should have an eject button (sometimes the same as the speed control) for safely removing and cleaning the attachments. A few additional conveniences include dishwasher-safe beaters and a storage container for mixer attachments. A mixer must have enough settings to provide the precise speed you desire for each recipe. Our three top picks also feature a power burst button. More expensive mixers include a slow start option that lets the speed build up to your chosen level to reduce splatter. As with most products, it might be difficult to find a perfect mixer with every desired feature. Determine what's most important to you before making a purchase.
Mixer Attachments.Mixers at all price points come with a variety of attachments. Beaters, of course, are the No. 1 priority. The Hamilton Beach 62650 includes both flat beaters and straight wire beaters recommended for heavy use. If you can find curved wire beaters, experts suggest they may be easier to clean than traditional beaters with a post down the middle.The standard for the best cheap mixers is at least one additional attachment such as a whisk or dough hooks. The Hamilton Beach 62650 and Oster Inspire (models 2577 and 2534) include a whisk and both Oster models on our list of top picks -- the Inspire and the 2500 -- come with dough hooks. The Oster Inspire boasts one more mixer attachment: a drink rod, unusual for a cheap hand mixer. Consumers who have reviewed the Hamilton Beach 62650 on Amazon appreciate that it also comes with a snap-on case for storing the attachments.
The Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer accommodates only one attachment at a time rather than the usual two. That allows it to fit in drinking glasses and other small containers where two beaters won't. True to its name, it comes with three different mixer attachments: a beater, a whisk, and a drink mixer.
Mixer Speed Settings.Speed settings help you control how fast and evenly the batter is mixed, a critical issue for some recipes that specify different mixing speeds at various stages of the process. A mixer with only a few settings may not be able to provide an ideal speed for all the different recipes you want to make. For example, a low setting might be perfect for mixing dry ingredients into muffin or quick bread dough, while a high setting might be best for creating whipped cream quickly. Some manufacturers mark what each setting is for, so users can accurately adjust the mixer according to the type of batter, while others denote the speeds by number.For a hand mixer below $30, five to seven speeds is standard. Experts suggest six and, ideally, a slow start or soft start option, although users can mimic this effect simply by starting on the lowest setting and increasing the speed manually. Both the Oster Inspire and the Hamilton Beach 62650 have six speeds and the Oster 2500 has five. The Food Network Digital Hand Mixer (starting at $35) boasts a whopping 10 speeds but falls a little ways out of our price range. On the low end, the Oster 3-in-1 Twisting Mixer offers only two settings.
According to reviews, even the best budget mixers tend to struggle on the settings front in two ways: Sometimes the speed doesn't vary enough from setting to setting and sometimes the low speed is still too high . No cook wants a messy kitchen from a simple mixing job, so it's important to have a setting slow enough to prevent or reduce splattering. Several buyers who have reviewed the Hamilton Beach 62650 on the Walmart website mention that the mixer's lowest speed is too fast and creates clouds of flour, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa powder. One suggests just giving the dry ingredients a quick stir before mixing and others see the speed and power as a positive for a cheap mixer. Reviews of the Oster Inspire on Amazon contain similar sentiments. Many reviewers complain that there's not enough variability among the speeds, which are generally too fast and have thrown liquid all over the kitchen. Experts and other frequent bakers suggest using a deep bowl and remind users to insert mixer attachments all the way to the bottom of the bowl before turning on the machine. The Oster 2500's low speed appears to be slow enough for reviewers on Amazon, some of whom say they bought the mixer specifically for that reason after reading other reviews.